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Inside the Gen Z sex war Would you date a Right-wing man?

'The feminised, declawed softboi' (Credit: Ladybird)

'The feminised, declawed softboi' (Credit: Ladybird)


April 22, 2024   4 mins

Women to the Left, men to the Right. And heaven forbid there is any crossover. These days, young people are floundering in their sex-based political silos wanting different things: girls are still seeking equality and boys miss being the good guys. This isn’t a battle of the sexes — we’re too far apart to fight.

To find the roots of this catastrophic division, let’s take a look at what it’s like to be a young woman looking for men on a dating app. Dive in and you will there find that the feminisation of the public cultural sphere — a response to the cult of toxic masculinity — has divided many men in to defiant and defensive conservatives (bad) and a privileged club of sympathetic male faux-feminists (also bad). Apps have given women the power to shun those who hold the wrong views: “Never kissed a Tory” is a mainstay of girls’ Hinge profiles; “conservative” rarely is.

Let’s remember the reason young women have been handed the power to cancel: we are most meaningfully the victims of rape culture. This has resulted in a selection bias towards Left-wing men partly because we want something in common, but also, rightly or wrongly, because there is a hope that these men will be on board with all the sexual-social protections that come with feminism. In my experience, and in that of a lot of my friends, this has been a false equivalence — but can you really blame young women for going for people less likely to be a threat? Don’t forget that these men are all essentially strangers.

Certainly, it remains the case that, as Margaret Atwood put it, while women fear rape and murder, men fear rejection and ridicule. Perhaps it is this, the bedrock of sex, which lies at the core of young people’s divided politics. But there are two important things to say: first, be warned that how someone votes might not have anything to do with how they will treat you as a woman. Second, a wish not to be cancelled cannot ever engender a harmony between the sexes that will last. Earlier this month, in fact, we heard that young men are no more likely to support the idea of gender equality than men in their 60s. Whatever my generation is doing, it ain’t working.

And, yet, women are setting the tone in dating culture even though it shouldn’t really be our job to educate men on how not to harass or discriminate. A friend and I gave one of the compulsory consent workshops in our second year of university, and part of the session was to go around with a show of hands asking things like “if she has passed out, can she still consent”. The mental gymnastics some freshers, not at uni for five minutes, went through to justify having sex with this hypothetical drunk woman — especially when the people holding the workshops were women — shows the unintended consequences of the politicisation of sex: desperate not be lumped in with nice-guy feminists, not raping someone, like other elements of being a “good lad”, became tied up into a wider question of beliefs, subjectivity, and free discourse.

One of the early hopes of MeToo was that the cultural complicity around rape would be replaced with a critical clarity and honesty. Now, we are at a point where the question “what if she’s lying?” has become the gotcha of choice to undermine the very idea of consent. The sexual divide has only been consolidated. As a result, we aren’t creating male feminists, just men schooled in the right things to say. This compulsory, superficial feminism is distracting us from the more critical, genuinely problematic elements of the men we go out with: whether they are sexually aggressive, whether they are unfaithful, creepy, have repugnant fantasies, or are addicted to porn.

This should not be a zero-sum game: wanting a partner who aligns with your values and who also does not mistreat you should be doable. But we have created an avenue for men to wear the sheep’s clothing of someone who likes Greta Gerwig and listens to Mitski, while crooning platitudes about the female gaze. A new, no less grisly bogeyman has emerged from this medium: the feminised, declawed softboi, who wraps you in his Arcteryx jacket and confirms that “I really fuck with Woolf”. Once a harmless semi-progressive navel-gazer, he has mutated into a manipulator with a Mubi tote bag into a dating culture perfectly suited to him.

This politicisation of sex is producing unexpected outcomes. It has given us new frameworks which we use to “sort” men into acceptable and unacceptable categories which are not at all useful. And it has created new avenues for genuinely poisonous partners to reframe their past indiscretions as lifestyle choices (ethical non-monogamy has been a boon for all the worst blokes you know).

The new, warped framework divides male daters into two camps: the gruesome softboi and the 4chan cruiser. This second camp, though mostly exaggerated, is perhaps more interesting, as a rarer phenotype. What do they admire? What idea of womanhood do they cling to in defiance of a system which, they believe, is pushing blue-haired stick-and-poke tattoo artists with personality disorders into their arms?

“The new, warped framework divides male daters into two camps: the gruesome softboi and the 4chan cruiser”

The answer, or so columnists claim, is Sydney Sweeney. Much has been written about her appearance within sexual pop culture, which has variously revitalised the figure of the luscious, busty blonde or created a new rod with which Right-wing men can beat women, who in turn are just emerging bleary-eyed from years in the cave of body positivity. The answer to whether Sydney Sweeney’s breasts hold political power is probably “no”. But she does hold significance in terms of what she symbolises to the men who do politicise their attraction to her.

She represents the unfettering of a male sexuality that has been constricted by the demands of what some see as a man-hating modern bias towards all but a mysterious “top tier”. Women, we hear, no longer need to put the effort into being voluptuous, giggly, compliant, sexually ready and sufficiently made-up, but are no less expectant of ideal qualities in men.

Modern dating culture is a desperate bog haunted by ideological ghouls. Maybe it’s time we pushed them all aside, and stopped superimposing political fantasies people who are probably pretending anyway.

An earring does not indicate he is a good person. That Jeanette Winterson book in his tote bag does not indicate he won’t get sulky if you don’t give him head on the first date. He is as likely, at bottom, to be a prick as someone who writes in their bio that they want “a woman who isn’t crazy” (seen in the wild not a week ago). We must do something to rehabilitate relations between young men and women — or it will only spell doom further down the line. Failing that, bring back political lesbianism.


Poppy Sowerby is an editor and writer covering politics and culture.

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Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
23 days ago

I have to admit I hardly understand any of the references in this article at all, and I’m not even sure I understand the overall point the author is trying to make. Can anyone offer some enlightenment?

El Uro
El Uro
22 days ago

I can. In one sentence!
.
Men are bad.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Agreed! An awful lot of judgement from the side that demands not to be judged. What feminism needs to understand is that one can only control one’s self including choices and thoughts. They seem to understand this when it comes to the trans debate but forget it when it comes to themselves. I believe the term is hypocrisy.

John Riordan
John Riordan
22 days ago

She saying, but not in so many words, that women in general are unhappy about something, and this is, as usual, in some unspecifiable way, all the fault of men.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
22 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You nailed it, and it has always been so. Every modern woman thinks she’s ‘liberated’ but I’ve learned in 62 years that very few of them really are, though to be fair, those few that are, are truly wonderful.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
22 days ago

She’s “terminally online”. The Sydney Sweeney thing is a reference to a recent tweet/article by a guy called Richard Hanania who posited that Sweeney’s (mildly) unwoke attitude combined with being hot and also uncancelled indicates some sort of sea change in the culture.
https://www.richardhanania.com/p/yes-sydney-sweeneys-boobs-are-anti

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
23 days ago

Some of this is pretty old. The ‘soft man’ had a brief vogue in the eighties as a desirable and attractive male. He lasted only until women figured out that someone being defined only by being soft (like a teddy bear) would not really fulfil their dreams. And most men figured out that playing soft and trying hard to be a nice guy would not actually increase their individual chance of getting laid.

It would be nice to hear what Ms Sowerby actually wants. Any hint of an effective mating strategy is likely to find hopeful followers, but what is it? The best hint is that she wants men who are not fake feminists but real feminists, who genuinely and aggressively fight for the interests and values of women at the expense of men. Somehow that does not sound like realistic goal – for either sex.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago

Alas, I think the boat has sailed for most of gen z or whatever young people are called nowadays.
The idea that if you believe you have made a mistake, you just move on to a “new beginning “ until you find prince or princess charming has now firmly taken hold.
Human relationships are complex and it takes time to develop a shared world that suits both parties; with many bumps along the way.
This is why the Christian service talks about for better or worst etc.
However people now believe that your partner should fit seamlessly into your current world view and that nothing else is acceptable.
This of course is a recipe for disaster.

El Uro
El Uro
23 days ago

Let’s remember the reason young women have been handed the power to cancel: we are most meaningfully the victims of rape culture.
.
That’s bullshit… As all the article

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
23 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Shouldn’t someone called ‘Poppy’ be out supergluing herself to the Mona Lisa to ‘save the planet ‘ ?

I hated my family and couldn’t wait to get away from it, but (yawn), with the benefit (?) of advancing years, I can see all around me the wreckage of the alternative; failed, serial relationships, fatherless children, lonely isolated men and a complete breakdown of families and communities.

I’d heartily love to blame this all on the Feminists and Fabians, but obviously a lot is also driven by pure economics, consumerism and the usual snake-oil salesmen/women.

How we get this back now is a mystery to me but younger generations may simply turn their backs on this transparent nonsense and chose something more traditional again.

But it’ll take a generation to even start to see some change.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

No joke. Research has shown that 30% of young LIBERAL woman today suffer from a variety of mental anxieties, not to mention that women are far more neurotic than men just overall. Young men today have more to fear by landing a nervous nut-case than women face in finding a man. If I had a son I would be so worried about the current female pool. That said, my youngest daughter is yet to be married and dates as much as she can ‘to find the man’ – she’s been disappointed at how many drink too much & suffer from a lack of direction.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Hence the man looking for a woman who isn’t crazy!

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Hey tame boy !o!
The aurochs is the ancestor of all domestic cattle, and so basically its genome is alive, it’s just unevenly distributed.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

You’re saying more men get raped than women?. Try again. About 98 percent of rape victims are women. What a weird comment.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I think he’s taking issue with the more-loaded term “rape culture”, which posits a society where rapes not only occur, but are excused or even indirectly encouraged by patriarchal or hyper-masculine attitudes.
My response to someone who claims that US or UK is a rape culture or oppressive patriarchy: Yes, to a degree, but not only. And not by comparison to most other countries. That doesn’t mean that our transatlantic levels of sexual violence and enduring strains of coercive male control are fine and dandy, but the hyperbole and totalizing denunciations of male behavior–which Sowerby indulges in pretty freely–ought to stop.

Anglian Reed
Anglian Reed
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Not victims of rape, but ‘rape culture’, which I assume is the bullshit to which the commenter is referring.

And UK law is drafted in such a manner as to preclude almost entirely the possibility that there can be female perpetrators of rape, so of course almost all convicted rapists are men.

El Uro
El Uro
18 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You know, it’s not interesting to answer to the arguments of obviously biased people, but I’ll try. There are many times fewer rapists, than normal men protecting women. Moreover, there are many times fewer rapists than criminals, which is confirmed by the fact that the life of rapist in the prison is hard, dangerous, and often short. Therefore, only weakly sane people can claim the existence of “rape culture”. So, it is not my comment that looks strange, but your reaction to it.

William Shaw
William Shaw
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

With regard to rape culture…
The problem with consent is that women withdraw it 10 years after the act and then proceed to destroy men on social media because, BeliveAllWomen.
Women are always innocent until proven guilty.
Men are always guilty until proven innocent.
Women are going to have to consider lesbianism more seriously in the future if they want a partner.

Kate Madrid
Kate Madrid
19 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The problem with “consent” is it’s imaginary. A human can’t consent to be used as an object anymore than a human can consent to be a pickup truck.

El Uro
El Uro
18 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Women are going to have to consider lesbianism more seriously in the future if they want a partner
Lesbianism will not save them from hysteria. In fact, sex is in second place in a woman’s life, the desire to give birth and have children comes first. It is impossible to deceive nature and if you try to do this, it takes cruel revenge on you

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Are you saying that more men are victims of rape?

El Uro
El Uro
18 days ago

No, I didn’t say that. In addition to this, I despise those who use the straw man argument.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
23 days ago

I think the author is unintentionally showing us why men are going their own way. A life of video games and porn sounds much much more fulfilling than spending time with her.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
23 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

“A woman who isn’t crazy” sounds like a reasonable aspiration, if difficult to achieve for a Gen Z male.

Arthur King
Arthur King
22 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Your post sounds like snark but it’s true. My son tells me that most young women he’s met are idiots. I say to him, look for a non-western Christian girl from a good home. They have been brought up better.

William Shaw
William Shaw
22 days ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Tell him to check out the passport bros movement.
There’s a lot of slim, family oriented, traditional Thai and Filipino women.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The whole piece is a case study in unintended irony.

Frances An
Frances An
23 days ago

I think much of the article covers the issue of dating apps’ effects on male-female relations, not males and females themselves. Bring back hobby groups and mutual friends as primary places for meeting prospective mates 🙂

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago
Reply to  Frances An

Bingo. I think the worst thing that happened is online dating. Young people don’t even know how to talk to the opposite sex in person. I met my late husband at school, and we talked to each other over lunch or getting some coffee. We did so by getting to know each other and becoming good friends before we went to the next stage. Young people don’t have the social skills to do this. They can’t get off their phones long enough to actually get to know someone.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
16 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes! Dating apps are toxic.
I am a strong, intelligent, educated, and successful woman, and I finished my last degree in 2010–objectively, not that long ago, but it feels like I am aeons removed from many of the women occupying uni campuses today. Many British and American women (and men) no longer know how to hold a proper conversation. Their attention spans are shorter than my dog’s ability to focus, and the expectations and the sense of entitlement are out of this world!

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
16 days ago
Reply to  Frances An

“Bring back hobby groups and mutual friends as primary places for meeting prospective mates.”

Precisely! In the past, people met at dances, playing sports, playing music in bands, singing in choirs or any other number of activities. My daughter studies in Vienna, and in many aspects that city is a bastion of normalcy. Dancing is a big thing in Vienna, and young people take classes together. They attend formal events together, and seem to have a grand time. That’s how my daughter met her Irish boyfriend. No dating app required. They are both refreshingly normal, and as he has two older sisters, he can deal with occasional moodiness as well.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
23 days ago

So essentially some lads have learned to play the game (by its current rules) and trick girls into bed by pretending to be something he isn’t, as has happened to every previous generation and will happen to every single one going forward until the end of time?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
23 days ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Both sexes play that game

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
22 days ago

Of course they do, always have always will. I fail to see why the author (or the bulk of comments replying) are getting so worked up over it

Heidi M
Heidi M
23 days ago

I came into this article expecting some interesting insight or consideration of the underlying issues, but came out with a whole lot of unmeaningful stereotypes and a general complaint of, yet again, there are no good men? Perhaps I missed the key plot twist somewhere, despite my reread. I did find the description of the men who bill themselves as feminists to be amusing and topical, and indeed harkens to an idea put forth by Gad Saad that these men display the adaptations of cuttlefish, disguising themselves as females to increase reproduction chances.

However, the real issue which is caught in this weird net of an article does appear to be the over politisization of sex and relationships. The author in facts displays this very issue in her categorisation of “right wing” men as some sort of uber misogynists ready to beat women into submission. Perhaps these narrow lenses of right and left wing men are unuseful, and as anyone with life experience can tell you, most do not fit this stereotype. A rejection of feminism does not mean that men wholly embrace rape and beating, on the contrary most men (which is indeed backed up by the statistics as not half or more of the men are out and about abusing women) have a wholesome respect for women and a general good sense of how to treat people all together. However, how this manifests is different ways depending on the left or right leaning and what is seen as the acceptable way to show that.

For the most part I would say there are many commonalities in values if given the chance, but it is this ability to screen and judge people off an app that contributes to the growing canyon.

The truth is I was lucky to escape this cycle fairly early, after meeting online, and with someone a bit different from me in some things. But I also have many friends still trapped in this vortex. One has gone full lesbian after a particularly bad break up (she quite left, he quite right if that matters), others seem to be perpetually alone, or perpetually with someone new every week, all of varying values. Most of my female friends have generally settled down happily, whereas it is the men who seem to struggle most, and who I tend to feel the most sympathy for. They are truly lovely, successful, and genuine people (even the perpetually with someone new person) and I am at a loss as to why any sensible woman just never seems to eventuate. My growing concern is that the longer woman are single/in and out of relationships, the more radical in certain toxic feminist tropes they become to battle the heartache, and thus a horrid cycle is born which has trickled down to the younger ones.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
22 days ago
Reply to  Heidi M

What did you expect? After all it’s UnHerd, a tabloid for the navel gazers. It’s all about the author, his rant or the books he’s just “browsed” followed by mini articles in the comments section. Imagine the author being honest and opening with “I seem not to be able to get laid lately…. is it because I don’t denounce Trump or Jordan Peterson as fascists?” and keep going from there without summoning Foucault, Lacan, Nietzche or the Roman Empire for cover … that would be refreshing.

RM Parker
RM Parker
22 days ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Erm – I guess you won’t be back then, mate?

Jim M
Jim M
16 days ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Did you read the article? The author is a woman. I wonder when that term will be scrubbed from the English language.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
22 days ago
Reply to  Heidi M

“Perhaps I missed the key plot twist somewhere, despite my reread”

You are a hero of empire, I couldn’t face a second read

Obadiah B Long
Obadiah B Long
23 days ago

In the past, when things sort of worked to the point of accomplishing reproduction, at least, we had both physical and social dimorphism. Therefore the physical parts fit together, and so did the social parts. They were complementary.
We still generally have the physical fit, but the social dimorphism has disappeared, and women have grown male parts, so to speak. Often defective ones, at that. Meanwhile, some men have responded by growing female parts, but they are withered and non-functional, generally speaking. Should we wonder, then, that the fit is uncomfortable?

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
23 days ago
Reply to  Obadiah B Long

Are you saying, then, that Poppy Sowerby is talking Poppycock?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
22 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Very good

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
23 days ago

You’ve come a long way! It’ll make it hard to get back.

Rob C
Rob C
23 days ago

I don’t think “right-wing” men want to have anything to do with Woke or man-hating feminist women, either. So they won’t be getting together.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
22 days ago
Reply to  Rob C

Absolutely not. As a landlord, I won’t have woke people in my home. I have to take care of my blood pressure.

Harry Phillips
Harry Phillips
23 days ago

What utter nonsense.

What is “rape culture”? Does it even exist?

David L
David L
22 days ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

It exists in places like Rotherham. But silly rich girls called Poppy, aren’t affected.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

It’s taught to college students in the US. I sat through a lecture on this once and at the end I suggested that if it was that bad perhaps we need to go back to sex-segregated education. I was met by gasps of horror by the women who went on to tell me that the only solution was to teach men not to rape.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
22 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I’m sure Wayne Couzens just needed education to not r@pe and murder Sarah Everard! Perhaps if we educated our police to know it’s wrong, he wouldn’t have done it! (Is my eyerolling response to this feminist trope)
I remember when the phrase “lock up your daughters” was a joke made when a chap looked dandy. Now I see it as a good solution because so many young women are their own worst enemy.

Jim M
Jim M
16 days ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

It’s not “rape culture.” It’s “rape biology.” Men have that type of behavior hard-wired into them because it was once a strategy for procreation.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
23 days ago

Holy smokes… I’ve never met any men like the ones you describe in your article. They sound awful. Maybe seeking out different social circles might work?

Christian Bartz
Christian Bartz
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Feminists hate men because they surround themselves with feminist men.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
23 days ago

More conservatives are going to have to come out of the closet and say that what Louise Perry, conservative Christians and, for that matter, Muslims are now saying about the sexualization of Western culture, is on the money.
The sexual revolution, in all of its promiscuity-is-cool, a-drunk-girl-can-consent-an-unconscious-girl-can’t (Poppy you really are doing the Lord’s work in guiding us through this minefield — up until now I’ve been relying on Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier) slide into atomized, individualized, lifestyle-choice has been an unmitigated disaster.
So here we are with women giving advice to people, who are mentally really still children, advice that the age-of-consent is a driver’s license to travel risk-free along the path of self-actualization. You sleep with as many as you like (as long as you weren’t too drunk and you consented, Yayyy) and there are NO consequences. Poppy you say, that he might sulk if she doesn’t give him head on the first date. I presume you mean that if she hasn’t done it by the third she’s sexually dysfunctional. You got a magazine column for that?
Here’s the truth. The Sexual Revolution was a consequence of World War II and the boom in cultural optimism that followed it. It’s purpose was the commercial and ideological commodification of sex and the sanctioning of sex outside of marriage as being no less fulfilling and, in fact, better than sex within marriage—it was, after all, free of that property thing that feminists worrried about. The whole thing works as a fantasy but in the aggregate, the damage has mounted. Let me put it to you simply. It was a con to get girls to put out. Period. And it worked. And the consequences have been a disaster.
We now have a problem of damaged people brought up in single-parent households, now a multi-generational problem. Or, to put it more honestly, children who have grown up and are growing up in homes where they have been deprived of the right to a father or, less frequently, but no less disasterously, a mother. We also have more people than ever who are destined to die lonely and alone. People who, if you sat down to talk to them, could tell you a marvellous tale or two about their wild youth. People who by the time they were 30 or 40 had made so many mistakes that a lonely death was all but inevitable.
Just as in Tolstoy’s fiction or in the Bloomsbury Set’s reality, only those with money can indulge in this kind of nonsense. It’s been a casastrophe.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
23 days ago

Just a point on the sexual revolution. It goes back further than ww2 to the Fabian society, left wing activists like Emma Goldman pushing free love and the aftermath of ww1.
After ww1, the elites had told their respective countries to die for God and country. The suicide of Europe began a process of déchristianisation that took several generations to be fully born out (your point about ww2 is true as well, as the aftermath certainly accelerated this process) and the elites after both wars had a choice to either live up to their Christian, conservative morals or just let the other classes let rip (Evelyn waugh describes the free love attitude of the upper classes in the inter war period very well).

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
23 days ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

Yes, you’re right. Hence my reference to Bloomsbury. But after WW II it became a project endorsed by politics and the mass media.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
21 days ago

Agree.

When the well off have too much leisure time, they do come up with some of the worst ideas

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
21 days ago

Only thing I would add is that the endorsement by politics and mass media was never really resisted because conservative forces were exhausted and discredited mostly due to the aftermath of WW1.

The Germans and French left went one further and linked any conservative ideas/lifestyle to fascism in order to further their crazy idea

Lewis Eliot
Lewis Eliot
22 days ago

“And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.”

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
23 days ago

‘.. Don’t forget that these men are all essentially strangers.‘

There’s your answer. Stopped reading at this point.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
23 days ago

To anyone still reading…if you are lookong for a relationship get a hobby or go hiking with a mixed group your own age or go to a gig and ask an attravtive person , did you like the music

McLovin
McLovin
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

N.B. Don’t choose Star Trek collecting or trainspotting!

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
22 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Most of the issues that Poppy raises would disappear like smoke if men would stand up straight and tuck their shirts in. Maybe wear real shoes/boots. Messy isn’t edgy anymore; it’s just messy.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
22 days ago

I don’t tuck my shirt in (what’s the point?) but i’ll bet i stand up straighter than you do. How are you gonna deal with that?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
17 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Bit touchy, aren’t you? I didn’t intend to pour salt on your wounds.
It was meant as a joke.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago

What’s your stance on man buns?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
23 days ago

This must be a case of what J Peterson bangs on about in his pop diagnosis of the psychology of politics today: ‘women are more agreeable’. Hence, they agree with each other on social media and in the public organisation and NGOs they now dominate. There they meet equivalent men and reproduce left-liberal cultural hegemony.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

At the same time, it’s a dangerous kind of agreeableness, one that can quite easily turn into a mob mentality.

Saul D
Saul D
23 days ago

I’m glad I don’t have to live in that world. It seems dates are all about sex and not about relationships, seeking out one-nighters with hot men on the basis of an online ad, and then wondering if it’s going to be safe. None of the old fashioned oral basics of chat and getting-to-know-you over a few times going out to see if the man is trustworthy and worth it first.
So, since men discover that if they write what women what to hear, and tick the right boxes on the online form they get more (free) sex, guess what, women are going to end up with deceivers and cheats playing their luck. The men will learn the magic words to say even if they don’t believe them. Which means the more you hook up, the more you are likely to run into those type of men – pretty on the outside, treacherous on the inside.
A humble plain and normal man/gentleman, looking for a genuine long term relationship, will be more honest about how he is, because he wants something longer term, and hiding it just wastes time and effort. And wanting something long-term, he will want to keep the trust of the woman he is with and put her interests first, something that will be proven with time and going slowly. If you’re a woman who just wants sex, they he won’t be for you. But you’re probably not what he wants either.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
23 days ago

I understand most of the individual words in this article. Its the order in which the author has arranged them which is causing me problems.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
22 days ago

I played all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
22 days ago

Hey TwoFour, I agree – I posted a comment last night which was removed for some reason in which I said I didn’t understand any of the references and wasn’t sure what the article was about. I then requested enlightenment. I exeoect my initial comment was deemed too unkind, but reviewing the stack as it currently stands perhaps not.

I still have no idea what the author is talking about. Oh well.

Orlando W.
Orlando W.
23 days ago

It’s almost as if producing a multi-tiered system of loops young men need to jump through favours “players” with at least some sort of sociopathic predisposition to tell people what they want to hear, rather than show who they actually are. Only to go on and introduce the next “current thing” because the last one evidently did not work – after all, men=bad.
I’ve got one only question: why should I care? Why should I, as a young man nearing my 30s, care what is happening in my female peers’ lives? I simply do not have any stakes in the game. I am not the one getting attention from attractive girls(just like all average-looking men, I am hopelessly ugly according to the female gaze), I am not the one participating in casual sex (or sex at all for that matter), and I am certainly not invested in any gynocentric fantasy of society.
Go on, have your cake and eat it too. But you will find that if you entrust this cake to a generation of young women brought up to believe they are avatars of divinity (and thus, exempt from looking at their own lifestyle choice critically), this cake will never be good enough.

David B
David B
22 days ago
Reply to  Orlando W.

Nicely written.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
22 days ago
Reply to  Orlando W.

Bright lad.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
23 days ago

One of the most self-absorbed articles I didn’t finish reading.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Yes, but it’s fascinating to read this young women expressing herself and who is at once part of the conundrum she’s decrying.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

She just seems completely lost at sea.

Diane T
Diane T
21 days ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Similarly

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
23 days ago

Silly little Poppy needs to spend less time on the internet and more time in the real world. Men haven’t changed. There are a lot of @ssholes but there are also some very datable guys out there too. However, they have enough self respect that they don’t really want a girl who has put out for the rest of the town, nor do they want one who’s tatas are spread all over the internet. Stop lying to young women and telling them that they can put out without fear of a bad reputation and the negative consequences that come with it. It’s the young women who are now “not relationship material”, largely because they have been listening to idealistic fools like Poppy who believe that they can behave anyway they like without consequence!

NIck Brown
NIck Brown
23 days ago

Okay. As The Members so eloquently put it:
“She’s at a party
And she’s feeling pretty horny
It’s a bad excuse
A sad excuse
To let someone get into her pants
It’s Romance!”

I am no longer young but I have been told by several young men that consent has been withdrawn retrospectively – ie in the morning with a hangover and in fear of what mother or friends might say. That puts an intolerable burden on men. I don’t doubt there is a significant number of women who regret going to bed with me in their younger days – but they have never accused me of rape.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago
Reply to  NIck Brown

Probably because you’re not yet a famous rich celebrity.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
23 days ago

What sane person would date a left wing woman?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago

Precisely. And the left-wing women should leave right-wing men alone, otherwise they will just make these trad men miserable. I was a greeter at our local primary elections several weeks ago. Most men voted Republican whereas the women veered off to the Dems. A local, male Republican lawyer told me his wife watches CNN and MSNBC constantly and that most of his Republican friends have wives that do the same. He said the guys meet up at the shooting range to laugh about their situations, make jokes and shoot a bunch of rounds. Men can be so practical.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Sounds desperate

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
22 days ago

Exactly.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
20 days ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

What is the old adage, a man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle

Alex James
Alex James
23 days ago

If there are many Poppys out there, and I suspect there are plenty, then it is no wonder British birth rates are dropping. If your world view is limited to dichotomies of oppressor/oppressed, potential rapist/victim, misogynist conservative / liberal feminist or ally – then you are really limiting your opportunities in every aspect of your life, and what’s more I don’t expect that it’s very fulfilling. Secondly, that rushing into sex is unwise and superficial physical relationships are unhealthy. This last point is particularly acute for women, but men too. I think Louise Perry is presently the authority on these matters although I suspect anyone reading these comments will already be aware of her work on the subject.

Adam P
Adam P
23 days ago

I find it funny that the author had no idea that the 2nd year university male students at the ‘compulsory consent workshop’ were trolling her.
‘desperate not be lumped in with nice-guy feminists’. No, they were winding you up. Anyone who is educated enough to read and write knows what the socially acceptable (and morally correct) answer is to the question of consent with a person who is unconscious. Their replies were already reflecting the contrarian and disaffected views that the author is trying to describe in the ‘4chan cruiser’ camp. Think about it, if the boys at uni were ‘gruesome softbois’ they would have answered appropriatetly (if insincerely, according to you). They preferred the lolz because of the adversarial nature of the dominant ideology of identity politics, which i suspect is primarily female driven in the context of British university and young lives.
The source of your problem of the division you complain about is the intellectual framing of ‘how to see the world’. Once the world is divided into groups, the internet will only serve to drive divisions between these groups. Solving the problem wont be easy but you could start by rejecting identity politics.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago
Reply to  Adam P

I find it funny that the author had no idea that the 2nd year university male students at the ‘compulsory consent workshop’ were trolling her.

Actually the highlight of the piece.

John Riordan
John Riordan
22 days ago

Every time I read this sort of self-serving tripe I lose yet more sympathy for the modern woman. Well, the modern feminist, anyway.

Feminism, being a progressive creed, treats as axiomatic the usefulness and validity of treating people according where one deems them to fit within a preconceived class structure, as opposed to judging a person on their individual characteristics.

So is it a surprise that men have reacted to this in ways that feminists dislike, and in the context of the dating world appear to be confronting feminist-inspired incentives in ways women don’t necessarily like? That said, what’s described in this article regarding the apparent dishonesty of certain men in the digital dating scene is actually not a new thing: it’s nothing more than the age-old maxim amongst men that where women are concerned, you just have to tell them what they want to hear.

But of course most men have never been successful at that sort of thing and today it’s no different: for every man out there who has successfully gamed the dating world with a fabricated romantic identity adapted for the digital age, there are ten men who just find the whole thing confusing and exhausting and who cope with this in various ways such as retreating into isolation, porn, gamer culture etc. (It has been clear to me for some time that the incel phenomenon is merely the angry and vocal tip of an iceberg mostly comprising indifference and apathy). What women are experiencing here is not an increase in the number of a technically-adept class of male seducers, but a reduction in the number of genuine men seeking a relationship in good faith.

The fact is that any young woman who sets up her single, dating life with political restrictions like refusing right-wing men on principle, deserves the loneliness and disappointment that must inevitably be a more likely consequence than if she had just stuck to the basic, civilised standard of keeping an open mind about people she doesn’t know and hasn’t yet met. However, it wouldn’t bother me that women choose to behave in this silly manner, except for the fact that whenever I read yet another ludicrous, navel-gazing analysis such as this article, I get the impression that men, as usual, are nevertheless to be held somehow cosmically responsible for the ensuing mess.

Kevin Godwin
Kevin Godwin
22 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You are absolutely right about the politicisation of the dating pool for many women. A perfect example is my niece, I distinctly remember her saying to me that she will not date a man who voted for brexit. Eight years later, 40 years old and despite being very attractive, she’s still single!

Ian Wray
Ian Wray
22 days ago

Feminism’s stereotyping and demonisation of men (e.g. ‘toxic masculinity’) has inevitably led to an increasing breakdown in relationships between men and women. The way to ‘rehabilitate relations between young men and women’ is to recognise and overcome the harms feminism has done. Amongst many other things, that means that on sites such as Unherd good articles critiquing feminism need to be published, and not very poor articles full of hateful feminist stereotypes of men.

Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
22 days ago
Reply to  Ian Wray

I’ve not used or related to the word ‘feminist’ for quite a long time now. It is possible to be interested in female dignity and in women’s ‘rights’ without having to subscribe to such rigid ideological thinking. Contemporary liberal feminism is as bad as any other intersectionlist style grievance machine, when it views relations between the sexes only through the lens of ‘oppression’.

Ian Wray
Ian Wray
22 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Indeed. It is vital to separate important issues such as female dignity and women’s rights (as well as similar issues for other groups) from ideologies that capture those issues and present distorted interpretations of them. It is also important to recognise that interpretations of such issues can also be captured by harmful emotions such as hatred. Back in the 1970s, when reading the feminist magazine Spare Rib, I was struck by the hatred expressed in it towards men. Then in the 1990s, when trying to find books, etc, that presented a reasonable feminist discussion, based upon reason and evidence, there was only one such that I came across – The Sceptical Feminist, by Janet Radcliffe Richards. Moreover, in reading other feminist books and literature then, I realised that the hatred was not just towards men, but that those feminists often appeared to have a hatred of womanhood and femininity as well. What at times also seemed to be the case was that there was self-hatred there too, and that the hatred towards men seemed to be a psychologically defence against that.

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
22 days ago
Reply to  Jane Anderson

Indeed. My life partner is an older style of feminist, with which I am fully on board – as you say, favoring female dignity, opportunity, and equal rights. While we need to acknowledge that some extreme versions of feminism go way back, more recently a lot of the activism which calls itself feminism has been very broadly infected by Critical Social Justice ideology, with all the sophistry, victimhood, guilt tripping, and judgmental mindsets that go with it.
As one example, my partner believes “If I can genuinely do the same work, I deserve an equal opportunity and equal pay for doing it, rather than being blanket excluded”. Today the refrain is more like “unless I can get the same outcomes with a different level of contribution, I’ve got a grievance”.
We have a very “equal” relationship, but which I mean we are equally respected, and we are equally important, in our relationship. We are not identical, and we do specialize our contributions based on what works best for us, in empowered negotiation. With many women who identify as feminist today, they are looking for a psychologically submissive partner who will defer to them as the more oppressed and therefore more deserving person. They do not want real equality. (I hope there are more exceptions to theis generalization than I fear there are). I’m so glad not to be in the market today (though I think I got a wonderful partner – wife – even for the time when I was in the market).

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
22 days ago
Reply to  Ian Wray

Yes. If you want to see how successful feminism has been in improving womens’ relationhips with men, and womens’ happiness in general, just look at the lives of prominent feminists. How happy are they? Having devised their philosophy mainly from their own disatisfaction, they seduced young women into believing they really had their wider interests at heart, when they were really projecting their own narcissism (a popular term, but it fits.) Feminism needs to begin to be philosophically self-critical, and look seriously at its dark side, instead of believing it is an unchallengeable force for good. Once feminism comes down to earth, perhaps there will be better relations between the sexes. Meanwhile, the very confused war zone described in the article carries on.

John Tyler
John Tyler
22 days ago

Answer to headline question: No, but only because I’m straight. On the other hand, as someone relatively moderate, I would have little in common with a hard-left or hard-right woman and so would be unlikely to date her. What kind of relationship can truly work on a foundation of totally different world views?
What a daft article, full of philosophical posing and light on substance!

Joe Fieldsend
Joe Fieldsend
22 days ago

.

G. Kaminskas
G. Kaminskas
22 days ago

UnHerd is becoming such a disappointment. I’ll be unsubscribing. Why do you accept such rubbish for publication?

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
22 days ago
Reply to  G. Kaminskas

She’s gotta be a daughter of one of the staff.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
22 days ago

Very thought provoking piece. Yes, movements and crusades like MeToo produce unintended and unforeseen consequences in politics, the economy and even sex.
See this Freakonomics podcast episode about unintended consequences of MeToo and other anti-discrimination movements in the corporate world:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3bGpcO_C9k

Evan
Evan
22 days ago

I’m grateful I travel often and have the opportunities to date women from around the globe. Women that come from the culture discussed above are not attractive. They don’t seem to offer much to a decent man, unless of course he enjoys the projection of their own insecurities and failings and the disrespect that comes with incessant emasculation.  

It’s too bad sex and intimacy become a war. God help society.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago
Reply to  Evan

If you get a chance, watch the BBC mini-series ‘Alice & Jack’…egads! Throughout I find myself saying, “Run Jack, just run away, save yourself”.

William Amos
William Amos
22 days ago

Margaret Atwood put it, while women fear rape and murder, men fear rejection and ridicule. 

With respect, men in the UK are twice as likely to be murdered than women. Men are overwhelmingly the vicims of violent aggression of any and all kinds. Women have very little concept of the translucent haze of thinly veiled violent intent which is the atmosphere that young men have to survive in.
It’s everywhere, once you notice it. We don’t go on about it but most young men will know what I mean. Those 20 years or so of life where the presence of the threat of physical violence is an utterly everyday reality. Aggression breeding fear breeding agression. As much as as the lot of the Sons of Adam is to eat our bread by the sweat of our brow we also have a dark inheritance in Cain and Abel

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago
Reply to  William Amos

You are correct. But I think there is disturbing statistic. In the United States, the number one cause of death for a pregnant woman is murder, committed by the baby’s father.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
22 days ago
Reply to  William Amos

My school for boys does international women’s week (not day, week).

When we first brought this progressive policy in, I happened to see a copy of the Torygraph. It’s front page story was about the 16, teenage boys who had been murdered in London during the previous year. Only teenagers. Only London.

Now, surely many of these were up to no good but I find it extraordinary that feminists do not give a monkey’s about them. In fact, often when the problems that men face are met laughter and callousness by feminists.

I have a wonderful wife and daughter and my female colleagues are forever a delight. Thank God, otherwise, reading the callous nonsense spouted by writers like this clown would make it harder for me to have respect for women in general

William Amos
William Amos
21 days ago

I recommend, if I may, C.S. Lewis short essay, The Necessity of Chivalry.
The finessing of male aggression and agonistic energy away from the impulse to dominate and command and towards the aspiration to protect and serve was (and still, just, remains) perhaps the greatest achievement of Western Christendom. The model of Launcelot, which replaced Achilles, Ragnar or Beowulf.
This writer, like the teenage boys involved in gang violence, is suffering from a malady Dante and before him Augustine identified long ago. A misdirection of ardour on fiendishly unworthy ends.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
22 days ago
Reply to  William Amos

Yeah it’s pretty funny. Which unpleasant event is actually more likely to happen: being rejected by someone you like, or being murdered. Atwood thinks she’s making some devastating critique of men here, and just comes across as a loon who has no understanding of probability.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
22 days ago

To ask ‘do you want to date him?’ ignores the cororally: ‘does he want to date you?’.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
22 days ago

WTF?? “girls are still seeking equality and boys miss being the good guys.” how do women get away with spouting such evidence-free cobblers? Rape culture? Does Poppykins know what ‘culture’ means? it essentially means “the way we do things around here”. rape is not “the way we do things round here” unless you belong to certain religions imported en masse very recently. Women are only the “most meaningfully the victims” because sexual violence against men and boys is virtually ignored and punished incredibly lightly when uncovered. dreadful article. did she right this for an undergraduate essay?

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
22 days ago

Mental illness is not a political opinion.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago

I admit I gave up half way and skipped to the last para – but based on that this is really poor writing. And it has no depth or insight. The only highlight was the lads at the consent course who were presumably being unPC for laughs, but the author didn’t cotton on.

She’s young, so I feel a bit mean, but before you write you really need to learn to think.

Adam Grant
Adam Grant
22 days ago

Filtering partners based on their dating app profiles is unreliable, particularly as the app vendors are incented to keep people coming back to the app as often as possible. That is to say, the longer users’ relationships last, the less profit they generate. This suggests that women should swipe right more often, and accept the extra effort required to evaluate men face-to-face. Male-female political polarization is a separate issue that probably will drive down rates of family formation.

Arthur King
Arthur King
22 days ago

I’m so glad I married a solid Christian woman.

Jim M
Jim M
22 days ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Like many guys who consider themselves lucky, you may find out who you really married when you get divorced. Maybe you are lucky. It does happen.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago

does not indicate he won’t get sulky if you don’t give him head on the first date

Poppy – this is called a filter (no not the instagram kind). If he expects this on the first date or gets sulky if he doesn’t get it, it just means he’s not boyfriend material. It probably also means that you are chasing men who are out of your league looks wise but are happy to make use of you for a while.

David Morley
David Morley
22 days ago

I’m not sure which is most to be lamented: the terrible state of modern dating, or the lack of any framework for young people to make sense of it. If this article is anything to go by, all they have is a kind of pop-feminist drivel. No wonder nothing seems to make any sense and no answers seem to present themselves.

Peter Stephenson
Peter Stephenson
22 days ago

Probably for the same reason that some of the cultural references, and even words, in this piece are incomprehensible to me, I am mystified as to how it got to this. If I think hard I come up with this, that years ago we had a socially transmitted (through primary socialisation mainly) sense of right and wrong; now that everyone is so clever and can see through such principles (so they think) we have instead a public morality, which is publicly policed behavioural standards. The private sphere, where morality once sought its main redoubt, has become irredeemably “subjective” in an erroneous sense which misses the proper meanings of subjective and objective. (Hint: first hand personal consciousness is not radically unreal.) A lot of what is being complained of here seems to arise because young people are having to guide themselves without even ordinary social guard rails, leave alone with the inner strength of self which comes from having had the humility to love an adult who was able to inspire in them a sense of human goodness as a good in itself. I think young people who are aware enough to bring pieces like this to our attention might have the curiosity to extend their range of reference beyond mastery of the deportment styles, acquired almost entirely from online images, by which their peers create their entirely derivative little personas. Oh yes, and I am entirely happy to line up to help whip, or much worse, men who rape and abuse women. I actually do have a big problem about the feminisation of the public cultural sphere (single mothers marrying the government is not a right) but we should all have a much bigger problem with men who abuse. And I just hope there are not too many women in the MoD harbouring #BeKind sentiments because we need some hard men willing to do violence on our behalf so the rest of us can indulge in warm thoughts of love and kindness (Orwell), or whatever you call the thoughts which the feminisation of the cultural sphere has made so dominant.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
22 days ago

Schools and bad parenting are largely to blame. Feeling good about yourself is more important than developing a workable moral framework.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
22 days ago

we are most meaningfully the victims of rape culture
You are self-created victims of something that does not exist. Yes, there is rape but there is no “culture” that actively supports it, not in significant numbers. First came the pill, which gave women the ability to be as slutty as men. To reinforce the idea of sex without consequences, we have legalized abortion which has now been expanded to any point in a pregnancy for any reason. And we have no-fault divorce in case the relationship gets serious but later grows inconvenient.
Meanwhile, marital and birth rates are down, and every other day brings a new story about the sorry mental health and overall unhappiness of women. But somehow dating someone from the “wrong” party is the problem? What a lovely prison that women have built for themselves, assuming there remains such a thing as actual women. It’s hard to tell what with self-proclaimed feminists welcoming cosplaying guys into the sorority.
The ability of modern people to complicate the most simple things is astounding. And relationships are simple – does he treat me well? is he polite, funny, able to carry on a conversation, do we have a good time together, and all those mundane things the old fogeys used as metrics in determining whether a connection existed.

Nanda Kishor das
Nanda Kishor das
22 days ago

Err… what??

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
22 days ago

It’s actually quite simple.

1. Does he/she keep his/her promises?
2. Is he/she kind?
3. Is he/she solvent?

Everything else is a detail.

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
22 days ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

In short, character is more important to a good relationship than, say, looks or popularity. I would put “does he/she own their mistakes?” to your list.
I feel lucky to have a gem of a partner, and keeping a good relationship has required a lot of work on both of our parts, but the result is really wonderful. Objectively, I can see that my partner is wrinkly and saggy today (tho I’m normally not very conscioius of that), but I’m at least as deeply in love as I have ever been, and greatly enjoy the time we have together – even something like a grocery trip.

Rebecca Bartleet
Rebecca Bartleet
22 days ago

I am co proprietor of a Gen Z man. He just wants to find a young lady to go out and about with – to parties, to pubs, have a laugh, stay in to ‘Netflix and chill’, go for walks and have coffee and no doubt to get between the sheets with too.

He has met a few Poppys and they make it so unbelievably complicated.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
22 days ago

Great comment, not least for it’s simple yet profound understanding of what men are about. Most are just looking for a ‘female mate’ (as in ‘friend’) to share the ups and downs of life with, without adding too many downs.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
22 days ago

It certainly felt like it was a lot more straightforward when my kids (30yo daughter, 28yo son) were your son’s age.

James Sullivan
James Sullivan
22 days ago

Fascinating piece. There are no easy routes through the dating minefield today (not that there ever were in generations past, but I do think the minefield is worse today). Good guys are out there, but as has ever been the complaint of us guys, the jerks can often ruin things for the rest of us as women are just not as good as other guys are at reading men (just as women are better at reading the intentions of other women). Glad I’m long-married and well past the point of dating, but I do have several daughters of dating age. My advice to them is to avoid the dating apps entirely and focus on places like church, friend-groups, and being set up by (hopefully trustworthy) friends and relations.

Arthur G
Arthur G
22 days ago

Here’s the problem. Men are either masculine or they’re useless to women, and vice versa. The whole romantic/sexual bond is based on the complementary of the sexes. Each sex provides something the other needs, and doesn’t have.
Leftist women may kid themselves that they’re OK with a milk-toast, feminized man who will neither protect no provide, but they won’t be happy.

R Wright
R Wright
22 days ago

This essay was painful to experience.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
22 days ago

Wtf are you on about?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
22 days ago

One of my favorite shows once had a woman turn down her devoted but incompetent suitor for a date by saying “You’re a man, I’m a woman, we’re just too different.” Even at a young age, I was struck by the inadvertent wisdom in such a statement intended as comedy. Indeed I was instilled a sense of skepticism and caution towards relations with the opposite sex at an early age, and it served me well even into adulthood. In my formative years, I was fed a combination of child worshiping schlock on Nickelodeon combined with such cultural gems as The Simpsons, Married with Children, Roseanne, and Cheers. Given how being a kid was portrayed as so great and being a married parent was portrayed as such misery, I wondered why anyone bothered.
Needless to say, the ground was well prepared for my generation’s version of sex education which was largely a combination of learning the uncomfortable proper terms for parts we already knew dozens of colorful euphemisms for followed by a vividly detailed discussion of various ways to ruin one’s life through sex, from AIDS to unwanted pregnancy, the former then being regarded as a death sentence and the latter as worse.
I remained firmly committed to being a bachelor in perpetuity well into my 20’s, when I began to mature and understand how my earlier experiences and cultural influences had given me some incomplete pictures and created a bias. We are all a product of our environments to some extent. I dabbled a bit in the dating pool for a time, but always with an eye towards caution, a firm sense of my own standards, and a great respect for the personal autonomy and agency of the women I dated. I didn’t want to make myself or anyone else miserable in my pursuit of what I was pretty sure was a hopelessly childish ideal of romance. I’m sure it will surprise no one to learn I met with little success using such a responsible, methodical, and diligent approach.
I eventually gave up as a result of several factors. One is I simply no longer felt the desire as strongly. I believe that happens with age. Praise the lord for small blessings. Further, I noticed that there never seems to be a shortage of articles such as this lamenting the state of male/female relations, speculating upon the causes, and failing to arrive at any workable solutions. Further, the Simpsons is still on the air along with several newer, more modern versions of the same tired comedies and dramas I watched as a child that depict the myriad pitfalls and limited payoffs that come from romantic relations and the familial imperative. I suppose I took the hint that to some extent culture is destiny and this was never going to play out to my advantage nor any prospective partner, and I’m not the sort of person to continue beating a dead horse after it starts to smell.
All in all, I still feel there is some wisdom in the notion that there is a gap between the sexes that never truly will be bridged in any sense. We will remain, as we ever were, divided into this and that regardless of how inconvenient this is to whoever happens to be charged with making the laws we all abide. I doubt the efforts of science, philosophy, and activism will entirely overcome the vagaries of biology and genetics. I consider all the nonsense coming from the trans-movement to be evidence that our efforts to ‘equalize’ the sexes have failed utterly and indeed given rise to the even more problematic notion that one can choose one’s own gender to better reconcile the gap between their own personality and society’s expectations of their gender. I feel fortunate to have avoided a lot of this nonsense myself.
Given the dearth of positive examples both in the media and in my immediate experience, I consider dating and relationships to be like a Las Vegas slot machine. One may occasionally hit the jackpot on the first few pulls and walk away happy, but the overwhelming majority will just piss their time and money away for naught. The dating game is rigged to keep you playing hoping for a payoff maybe one or two in a hundred will ever see, all as part of some scheme to perpetuate the species which I didn’t start and feel no great compulsion to continue. To continue the gambling analogy, I suppose if I can’t be preternaturally lucky, I can at least be wise enough to ‘know when to fold em’ and have the self-discipline to do so. At any rate, I don’t have to look very hard or very far to find more confirmation of my own conclusions on the subject.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

No one has to look very far to find confirmation of their own conclusions–hence the term confirmation bias.
I’d agree that we can’t expect the gap between men and women to be fully bridged. But that hasn’t forestalled many centuries in which mother-and-father nuclear or extended-family households were the societal norm. Nor does it prevent meaningful complementary interrelationship between men and women even in places where life partnerships with the opposite sex are no longer the overwhelming norm–though I think they still “hold a plurality” nearly everywhere.
The self-reflections you produce are full of interest and insight, but I don’t think all of your personal conclusions are correctly extended to the society at large. I know you’re not quite saying they are, but it seems you’re blurring the personal and universal a bit here.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
21 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Fair enough. I can be as biased as anyone else. This was meant as my observations on the subject and a bit of humor as I find articles such as this rather humorous. People will complain about most anything.

I did go a bit far towards the end though. I can be prone to too much rhetorical flourish, so I will clarify. I think my conclusions hold for me certainly. In general I think society vastly overrates both the importance and the value of romance specifically and I think it leads young people especially to make poor decisions, not that it’s terribly profound to say so. I think, in general, far more effort is spent on finding and assessing potential partners than is gained gained, a net loss, hence the over the top gambling analogy.

Speaking of society in general is a different animal. Individual self interest often does not align perfectly with collective interests. Many of the world’s political disagreements occur as a result of tension between the needs and interests of individuals vs the needs of society collectively. I alluded to this when I mentioned the propagation of the species. All this angst over dating, romance, intergender relations, does benefit society collectively in the sense that it produces families and children. Obviously if enough people took my approach we would see massive population decline. The evidence lately suggests we might be already seeing the start and I might suggest the causes are less economic, political, and medical but rather more fundamental questions of basic himan behavior. A lot of young people are asking why they are putting themselves through this and in the absence of tradition and religious influence, they are coming to the same conclusion I did.

Let us also remember that for most of history marriage was as much practical and transactional as romanticor personal. It wasn’t that long ago parents had significant influence in their children’s marriages and chose for practical reasons like economic stability, class identification, familial alliance, and so forth.

The fact is letting people choose their own mates for emotional and personal reasons has not markedly improved the institution of marriage or amended the disagreements between genders. We tend to blame other aspects of modern life for problems in romantic relationships but I wonder if that isn’t just a rationalization. I blame Rousseau.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Haha! I tend to blame the machismo of Homer, as reflected in the characters of Achilles and Odysseus. And the folly of that dumb broad Eve.
Thanks for the clarification. Even though I like to crack to jokes I can be pretty slow to detect humorous intent in others.
Concerning the serious part of your argument, I think our man-woman “people skills” have improved, but that hasn’t removed the age-old problems, and new ones have sprung up for many–like expecting a level of mutual understanding that can never occur (not even between to male of female friends, usually).
Interesting point concerning how a focus on choice and romantic love or even finding a soulmate hasn’t healed all sex-on-sex wounds. In fact, it seems that arranged-marriage societies might do better in certain respects, like learning to tolerate one another and staying together for the kids–something I’m grateful my parents did for the ten years they managed to stay married.
Still, I don’t think people like you or me, for example, would do well under arranged or socially-pressured marriage practices. I haven’t given up on dating the occasional woman who can tolerate me, nor the prospect of a life partner, but thus far in life I’ve been on my own a lot–and I’m mostly ok with that. I also think that many people have benefited from a culture that no longer attempts to enforce what outspoken lesbian poet Adrienne Rich–who was once married to a man–called compulsory heterosexuality. (Even factoring in some of the wanton indulgences and weird flights from biology that have grown more common, and which I hope will settle down across our culture).
Our emphasis on personal choices and comfort has come with disruptions and de-stabilizations and as a “child of divorce”–quite ridiculous to say after age 50!–I do think we’ve overcorrected some. Yet there were oppressive and nasty aspects to the History of Marriage that some deny or haven’t read up on, and some loosening of the bonds was needed.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
20 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Oh, on the contrary. I suspect I would have been fine in an arranged marriage society. I wasn’t always the casual live and let live libertarian type I am today. It took a lot of maturation, experience, soul searching, and I must add pharmaceutical intervention, for me to arrive at this point where I can casually let be whatever will be. In my younger days, I very much craved structure and routine. I liked being given tasks and completing them. I liked following the rules, being told what to do, and praised for doing it properly. I was an excellent student, and have never been remotely successful as anything else. I was a dreadfully boring, good little soldier, a rule follower and a goody two shoes. It wasn’t until my adolescent years when I came to understand what sort of society I lived in and decided I didn’t care much for it at all that I became a malcontent, a dissident, and a habitual challenger of authority. The thing that it took me a while to realize was WHY I questioned and disliked my own culture and society. It wasn’t just the greed, the shamelessness, the money, the politics, the unfairness. More than anything, what bothered my younger self was the chaos, the uncertainty, the lack of direction, purpose, and structure. I didn’t like that I was expected to decide what to do with myself or find my own career or any of that. I also knew I wasn’t good at those things. I wasn’t good at self-motivation or initiating relationships. I liked things to be regular, comfortable, and routine. I didn’t like meeting new people or making new friends. I liked things to be formal and structured. I most valued my family, those relationships that require no personal initiative and are simply there, part of the environment, part of the structure. At the time, I would have much preferred simply being told what to do, in the realm of marriage or career or whatever else. If given a default direction in life, I likely would have taken it. Had I lived in a more rigid and structured society, I think my younger self would have easily and eagerly internalized whatever structure was there I would have liked my lot a great deal better and found society more agreeable. I think I would have fallen fairly seamlessly into a world of rigid social structures and preset expectations, formal relationships, and clear expectations. My lack of social ability and my lack of internal motivation would have been far less debilitating in such a world.
Whether that would have made me a morally better person or a happier person? I very much doubt the former. It would have been far too easy for me to fall into a pattern of being overly judgemental and an enforcer of social structures, whatever they were. The fact that I ended up the opposite, perhaps because of the lack of established social structures, is an irony that amuses me to no end. It is perhaps my peculiar nature to be something of a chameleon who reflects the world about myself. Had I been born into a rigid and structured society I suspect I would have been an intense reflection of that structure, a conservative and traditionalist in the most absolute sense. As things stand, born into a directionless, unmoored, culture of American freedom, I have become something of an avatar of individualism and unstructured chaos, albeit not a very productive or successful one since my peculiar nature is so unsuited to such things.
As to the personal satisfaction aspect, I can’t really say. I have a tendency to drift through life wherever the currents take me so I’m highly dependent on my circumstances and environment. One way or another, I suspect it would always come down to dumb luck.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Impressive counterfactual explorations, Steve. I’m a bit surprised to hear of your by-the-book or authority-pleasing past habits.
I’ve always had a bone-deep defiance and a major contrarian streak, since at least age 4. I can be a conformist or good team player too, but it takes some focus and effort and I can’t do it all the time. For instance, when I’m around my ex-Catholic, ex-hippie, liberal parents, I tend to make the establishment or conservative case (not always; I’m not a “contrary-bot”). When I’m around traditionalists or social conservatives, like some of my extended family, I tend to make the individual freedom or reform-minded case. With determined libertarians or anarchists, I become more of an advocate for community and compassionate self-restraint.
I’ve never been devoid of empathy or remorse but I’ve had to work hard and take some hard knocks to become less selfish and self-involved than I seem to be by nature.
My diagnosed bi-polarity is only treated with coffee (daily), alcohol (periodically), marijuana (occasionally), and prayer (frequent and sincere, but not consistent). In the past I’ve been on what I call “brain drugs” but they made it worse for me–if not those who had to be around me. I’m grateful to have suffered no outright mania or clinical depression for over 15 years now.
I’m the kind of person who benefits from structure more than I’m inclined to admit, but I don’t usually seek it out or stick with it. At any time, I’m a risk to go on a bender and perhaps play guitar and sing half-lit in front of my local supermarket. I enjoy it and some people like my act, but I’ve also wasted plenty of money, lost track of multiple cellphones, and been lucky to escape getting badly hurt or even murdered multiple times since March of 2020 alone. When I sober up, my conscience reminds me of my foolishness and childish abandon. This part of me can never be fully subdued, but I’m way too old–and not physically tough enough–for that type of self-expression. I’m still looking to honor a more-often-healthy version of myself, with some uneven progress.
I’m not too good at these sort of hypotheticals, but I might have settled into a arranged or socially-coerced marriage (shotgun-wedding style let’s say). But unless she was almost an Angel of Patience, beautiful inside and out, I doubt my speculative wife and I could have stuck with a nonviolent version of ’til death do us part.
To conclude: I hope both of us can find a sweet spot that suits us as individuals, where our liberties and better eccentricities can be honored without causing too much solitude or alienation.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
18 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Agreed very much upon the last sentence. I myself have never taken to alcohol, never been on a bender. I’ve never even tried an illegal drug and the one time I took any kind of narcotic, tylenol with codeine following multiple tooth extraction, it left a very bad impression on me. It made me see four of everything and made it harder to think and reason, which I did not enjoy. I do not like anything that affects my mind or my thinking in a noticeable way, at all. I do realize the levels of anti-depressants I’ve taken have probably had a profound effect, but it wasn’t all at once, it was more on an emotional than intellectual level, and on balance I’m a nicer person than I used to be. The only drug I ever ‘enjoyed’ was that funny gas they use at the dentist though. For me it simply made me feel all tingly and floaty without affecting me internally. It widened the already gaping chasm that exists between my own internal world and the external world making it all the easier to retreat inwards, which is perhaps my most defining tendency and habit. Video games, reading, the Internet, and almost every other leisure activity up to and including napping involve tuning out the real world. I even enjoy routine tasks like filing forms and typing on a typewriter because they’re so mindless I don’t have to think or be engaged really. All this perhaps sheds some light on my counterfactual elucidations.
Thanks for sharing your story.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I was emboldened to share some of my story because of your own candor–and since I think we are close to the only two left on this hard-to-access comment board for a much-reviled article. And I’m glad you didn’t leaving me hanging after I went into confessional mode.
Cheers.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
22 days ago

As a landlord, I refuse to house prospective tenants who are woke.

David Lewis
David Lewis
22 days ago

Let’s not forget how temporary and fragile is the social context in which we now live. When the Russian and/or Chinese hoards come sweeping towards our borders, toxic masculinity will suddenly come back into fashion. Pretty young wimmin will be cosying up to the biggest, baddest, hairiest, muscleman they can find, in the hope of his protection against the invaders, who are unlikely to be nice to ‘wimmin and gurls’. Shamelessly, they will also be sending white feathers to men who refuse to fight, having been thoroughly feminised by current social attitudes.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
22 days ago
Reply to  David Lewis

Half the problem is that many are already looking for what they deem as the tough bad boy but they either get the moronic gym bro of the dead leg scroat who is slinging weed in the local park or the exotic s3x trafficker who told her they he really loves her and he drives an Audi so obviously it’s true. Or the homeless labourer who wants a roof over his head more than he wants a girlfriend. There are, sadly, a lot of young women with dubious taste in men, who then blame the men rather than change their type.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
22 days ago

For today’s men, dating is a series of job interviews. For women, it’s like shopping.

p3rfunct0ry 4p4th3t1c
p3rfunct0ry 4p4th3t1c
22 days ago

If Sweeney’s breasts can save humanity from Kardashian butts it’s got to be a win for aesthetics.

David Wildgoose
David Wildgoose
22 days ago

“Women still seeking equality”? Name me a single substantive issue in which women aren’t already equal – and with the added bonus of legal advantages in hiring, promotion and the divorce courts.

This article is just more feminist contempt for men.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
22 days ago

The title is accurate, the author is deeply inside this war. But I doubt we are on the same side.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
21 days ago

Well that is 4 minutes of my life wasted.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
18 days ago

I hate to break the news but men don’t really care. They seem to be having a good time doing their own thing and ignoring all this ridiculous nonsense and noise.